A mother has been banned from travelling to India with her baby amid fears that she would be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM).

A judge ordered the ban after ruling that the toddler, who turns two in the summer, was at serious risk of being subjected to the "utterly unacceptable procedure."

The case was brought before the court after social workers learned that the woman's three older daughters had all undergone FGM.

Also known as female circumcision, FGM involves cutting, injuring or changing a girl's genitals and is usually done for religious or cultural reasons.

It is illegal in the UK but continues to take place, with parents taking their children abroad to get the procedure done.

Judge Robert Jordan issued an 'FGM protection order' in Manchester after social services expressed concern at the mother's reasons for taking her daughter to India.

The judge concluded that the girl was at risk of FGM, saying that "the effect of the cultural pressure overrode the mother's maternal instinct," Manchester Evening News reported.

"As a consequence of religious and cultural pressure the mother facilitated the mutilation of her children," he said.

"That cultural pressure still exists in their country of origin - and undoubtedly in this country," he added at the private family court hearing.

Social workers told the judge that women's four children were all the subject of separate child protection reviews.

In February, the UN Secretary-General warned that the number of girls subjected to FGM worldwide could rise to 68 million by 2030 unless preventative action is taken.

More than 200 million women and girls living in 30 countries are currently believed to have undergone the procedure.

Julia Lalla-Maharajh OBE, Founder and CEO of Orchid Project, a charity working to end female genital cutting (FGC), told IBTimes UK: "There are an estimated 137,000 girls in the UK at risk of FGC, although the extent of the number of girls at risk of undergoing the practice in the UK or being taken overseas to be cut is not known."

"Our mission is to foster and accelerate abandonment of FGC around the world," she said. "In India we are working within communities through non-judgemental, open dialogue which approaches FGC as a social norm. We have seen that this approach is one of the most effective to empower communities to abandon the practice."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the procedure carries several medical risks and can lead to infections, severe bleeding and increased complications during childbirth.

In India, FGM is not banned and is especially prevalent among the Dawoodi Bohra sect, a branch within Shia Islam. 75% of women belonging to the sect have undergone FGM, according to a report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In December, Indian officials told the Supreme Court that there is no evidence to suggest FGM takes place in the country, angering activists fighting to end the practice.